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Midem 2015 is just around the corner: which of the trends we’ve witnessed these past few months will take shape in Cannes this week? The official figures speak for themselves: as we predicted in our last review, digital sales have surpassed physical ones, according to Billboard:

billboard music sales

 

This major shift does not put an end to controversies surrounding streaming services though – far from it! Will freemium options slowly disappear, for instance? Ahead of his Midem keynote in a few days, Deezer CEO Hans-Holger Albrecht spoke to Music Ally about the evolution of business models and the danger of freemium:

“There are two things we have to warn people about though. If we talk about freemium, we have to talk about free music in general: that’s the competition. Let’s make sure there’s not any other free, on-demand music like YouTube if we’re going to remove freemium. It shouldn’t just be about Spotify and its free tier.”

 

Once more, YouTube is at the centre of industry debates (cf. Midemlab finalist Rebecca Lammers’ fine post on the topic). The video platform’s Global Head of Music Partnerships Christophe Muller will be at Midem for a keynote on the platform’s commitment to contributing to artists’ journeys to success. An unmissable session in store!

Warner Music Group CEO Stephen Cooper also reacted to the current controversy around freemium, sharing his own views on the matter, Music Ally reports:

“With respect to going to a strictly subscription world, I think that you can find evidence that when music is not generally available, that people will seek out sites on the internet that are in fact will offer up that music for no charges, and in many instances, with no economic model,” he said, adding that “before people conclude that freemium should be burnt at the stake, we should think very carefully about the consequences.”

 

In the end, the future of music listening relies on labels’ ability to sell promote their artists on these services, regardless of their economic model. At The Great Escape conference in Brighton – covered by Music AllySpotify‘s director of label relations Will Hope stressed the importance of playlists, stating that “we’ll see programmed playlists becoming more and more influential – especially as you get more and more people who would have only listened to radio before coming onto the service.” This is becoming a subject of consensus: as Domino’s head of digital & Midem Label Ambassador Jason Reed explained on this blog recently, playlist curation can make all the difference.

There is, of course, more than just one way for streaming services to differentiate themselves in this increasingly competitive race: Spotify just announced that it would soon launch video streaming and artist radio shows, among other features, Pitchfork writes. Last but not least, other social media services are joining the race, with Japanese social network Line testing a $2-a-month streaming music service in Thailand, and… dating app Tinder selling albums, according to Music Ally!

The future of music belongs to these innovators: that’s the only thing we can be sure of in these troubled times. The proof? Music/tech startups are under scrutiny by larger groups. For instance, Pandora recently acquired music analytics company Next Big SoundBillboard writes. The young, successful and innovative company was one of Midemlab 2011’s winners!

 

The latest evolutions of this fast-changing music industry will be thoroughly discussed and debated in Cannes in just a few days – not to mention the Midemlab startup competition, the Midem Marketing Competition and the Midem Hack Day, three major events that will give you a glimpse of things to come in music. See you there!

Top photo via Shutterstock – Ociacia

 


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